Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Man Whom Texas Has Indicted in This Last Day

March 29, 2006 | WASHINGTON -- Introducing Rep. Tom DeLay at the War on Christians and the Values Voter in 2006 conference in Washington Tuesday, master of ceremonies Rick Scarborough described him as "the man God has appointed in this last day."
Oh wait, there's more:
"I believe the most damaging thing Tom DeLay has done in his life is take his faith seriously in the public office, which made him a target of all those who despise the goals of Christ," said Scarborough, a former college football player and longtime DeLay ally.
If he's convicted, he's obviously being martyred.

I'm so stunned I can't comment any further.

Oh wait, I can:

There are people being actually killed for their faith in the world. The word "Christian" really is a death sentence in some places, notably in the "new" Afghanistan.

Every time the GOP does this (or any political party, for that matter) it cheapens the faith, and takes us further in to the idolotrous theology of empire.

For the record, Tom DeLay is under indictment for violating campaign finance law. He's been admonished by Republican Ethics Committee chairmen for his misconduct. And I've personally seen him throw trash at people he doesn't like on the House floor (I'm serious). He is not under indictment for being a Christian.

Wait, Wait.....Wait....Okay...Wait....

I'm confused. Considering that we're in Iraq to build a democracy....
From the Asia Times Online:

Call it desperation, but the United States has started to take measures in Iraq that would wreck its most cherished goal there: democracy.

US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad is reportedly campaigning to either dump the United Iraqi Alliance's (UIA) candidate for prime minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, or force him to withdraw. Khalilzad has taken the drastic measure of appealing to the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani to that effect.

Could someone please explain to me why we're sending our young people to die in Iraq? Oh wait, we know that already.

Jill Carroll is Free

Good news to start the day.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Folks, It's Time to Panic

We cannot screw around on global warming any longer. You think Social Security is something we're gonna have to deal with in 20 years?

How about everything dying?

From Wired:
WN: You talk about David Rind's work -- predicting rampant drought conditions afflicting much of the continental United States within 50 years if greenhouse gas emissions continue at business-as-usual levels.

Kolbert: (In the book) he says that, "I wouldn't be surprised if by 2100 most things are destroyed." But he's certainly a very cool guy, not a hysterical person. He's a scientist, and he's just looking at the evidence.


Kolbert: People much more expert than I will tell you that we are in the middle of what is probably a mass extinction. People will say that the evolution of large vertebrates, of which we are one, that's just over.
And, just so we're clear where the Republicans are on this:
According to Oklahoma Sen. James M. Inhofe, the threat of global climate change is the "greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people."
Way to go, you jackasses.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Ruh-Roh, Republicans...

From Time Magazine:
Iraq is driving nearly all the big indicators the wrong way for Republicans...when those surveyed were given the choice between a generic Republican and a generic Democrat for Congress, the nameless Democrat won, 50% to 41%. The signs suggest an anti-Republican wave is building, says nonpartisan electoral handicapper Stuart Rothenberg, whose Rothenberg Political Report is closely followed in Washington. "The only question is how high, how big, how much force it will have. I think it will be considerable."
In recent weeks, a startling realization has begun to take hold: if the elections were held today, top strategists of both parties say privately, the Republicans would probably lose the 15 seats they need to keep control of the House of Representatives and could come within a seat or two of losing the Senate as well. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich...told TIME that his party has so bungled the job of governing that the best campaign slogan for Democrats today could be boiled down to just two words: "Had enough?"

Monday, March 27, 2006

Nothing To See Here, Folks

Overheard walking in front of the Rayburn Building in Washington, D.C. on Friday:
Whiney kid: "Is there even anything to see in the Capitol?"
Whiney kid's mom: "Oh, so you're thinking about not going at all now?"
Whiney kid's sister: "Are we going to see the propaganda?"
I think she meant rotunda, but that's too good....

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Calm Composure

Please tell me this is taken out of context:
“One doesn’t want to be accused of inhuman callousness; but I am willing to confess, and believe I speak for a lot of [Americans] that the spectacle of Middle Eastern Muslims slaughtering each other is one that I find I can contemplate with calm composure.” — National Review’s John Derbyshire.
Or, my Lord, this one:
I think any war could be won by BTBTTSA(Bomb Them Back to the Stone Age). At this point in history, the American people would not tolerate a BTBTTSA strategy; but we tolerated it in the past, and might again in the future. Why does Rich scoff at THWTHs for the “instinctive favor” we display towards BTBTTSA? It is, as Japan and Germany showed, a most efficacious war-fighting strategy, surely deserving the favor of anyone who thinks seriously about war.
Words like "bomb them back to the Stone Age" are cute, action-figure code words for "slaughter."

These are people claiming to know what's best for foreign policy, I kid you not.

Thanks to Think Progress for pointing out John Derbyshire's monstrous foreign policy.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

With All Due Respect, Mr. President...

Some quotes from President Bush's press conference today:
“Nobody likes war. It creates a sense of uncertainty in the country.”

“War creates trauma.”

“No president wants war.”

“I didn’t want war. To assume I wanted war is just flat wrong ... with all due respect,” he told a reporter.
But also, consider these quotes from today's press conference:
"We are doing the right thing. A democracy in Iraq is going to affect the neighborhood. A democracy in Iraq is going to (inspire) reformers in a part of the world that is desperate for reformation."
If I had been living on Mars for the last three years, I might assume the following timeline:
  1. Bush Administration says Iraq is evading U.N. Democracy Inspectors and is hiding totalitarianism in undisclosed locations.
  2. President Bush tells the world that Saddam Hussein has not lived up to his obligations to disclose his totalitarian-ship. He's given no evidence that he's destroyed it.
  3. President Bush makes the case to the American people that we must build a democracy in Iraq.
  4. We invade Iraq on the premise of building a democracy.
Wait, that's not what happened? We actually cherry-picked intelligence reports? We actually tried to reorganize the Pentagon when reality didn't support our rhetoric? We ignored information from Iraqis in positions to know the truth about weapons of mass destruction? We threw every excuse to go to war on the wall of public opinion just to see what would stick?

With all due respect, Mr. President, you lied then and you are lying now.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Allawi: "If this is not civil war, God knows what civil war is."

From GQ UK:
Civil war has broken out in Iraq, former Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi announced yesterday. On the third anniversary of the allied invasion of Iraq, as Defence Secretary John Reid spent the day shuttling around southern Iraq talking up Iraq's brave resistance to sectarian conflict, Allawi told the BBC: "We are losing each day 50 to 60 people. If this is not civil war, God knows what civil war is."

Friday, March 17, 2006

The True Root

Words of wisdom:
"Unbelief is the true root of the Christian championship of violence."--Jacques Ellul

Better Put on the SPF 5000

...because we just passed the point of no return for global warming.

Dammit. I burn easily anyway.

Oh yeah, and our President may be the worst one ever:
In 2001, President George W. Bush pulled the United States out of the Kyoto Protocol, the United Nations' main plan to curb global warming. He denounced Kyoto as an economic straitjacket that would cost U.S. jobs and said it wrongly excluded developing nations.

...the nonprofit, nonpartisan Civil Society Institute released a survey that found 83 percent of Americans wanted more leadership from the federal government to reduce the pollution linked to global warming.
Thanks for ruining the planet, you jackasses.

I think there's still some oxygen floating over New Zealand that can still be ruined for guys better hurry and get over there.

More Info From curepoverty

curepoverty has new info up on its blog. Check it out.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

The False Dilemma: War or Withdrawal

We had an interesting discussion about nonviolence last night at church. I was arguing for nonviolence, and a friend posed the "crazy hostage taker" scenario: is violence not justified if a man takes a group of children hostage and is going to kill them? Should we not kill the man to save them?

I argued inside the false dilemma for ten minutes: fight or not act. That's a false dilemma, and it's telling that even the people who advocate nonviolence have a hard time "waking up" from this false choice.

There are three general responses to evil: (1) violent opposition, (2) passivity, and (3) the third way of militant nonviolence articulated by Jesus. Human evolution has conditioned us for only the first two of these responses: fight or flight.

Jesus' Third Way
  • Seize the moral initiative.

  • Find a creative alternative to violence.

  • Assert your own humanity and dignity as a person.

  • Meet force with ridicule or humor.

  • Break the cycle of humiliation.

  • Refuse to submit or to accept the inferior position.

  • Expose the injustice of the system.

  • Take control of the power dynamic.

  • Shame the oppressor into repentance.

  • Stand your ground.

  • Force the Powers into decisions for which they are not prepared.

  • Recognize your own power.

  • Be willing to suffer rather than retaliate.

  • Force the oppressor to see you in a new light.

  • Deprive the oppressor of a situation where force is effective.

  • Be willing to undergo the penalty of breaking unjust laws.

Disavowing violence, Jesus wades into the hostility of Jerusalem openhanded, setting simple truth against force. Terrified by the threat of this man and his following, the authorities resort to their ultimate deterrent, death, only to discover it impotent and themselves unmasked. The cross, hideous and macabre, becomes the symbol of liberation. The movement that should have died becomes a world religion.

Songs for My Wife

Today's song that reminds me of L:
Everything (Lifehouse)

Find Me Here
Speak To Me
I want to feel you
I need to hear you
You are the light
That's leading me
To the place where I find peace again.

You are the strength, that keeps me walking.
You are the hope, that keeps me trusting.
You are the light to my soul.
You are my're everything.

How can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?
Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?

You calm the storms, and you give me rest.
You hold me in your hands, you won't let me fall.
You steal my heart, and you take my breath away.
Would you take me in? Take me deeper now?

How can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?
Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?
And how can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?
Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?

Cause you're all I want, You're all I need
You're everything,everything
You're all I want your all I need
You're everything, everything.
You're all I want you're all I need.
You're everything, everything
You're all I want you're all I need, you're everything, everything.

And How can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?
Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?
How can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?
Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?

How can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?
Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?

Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Ambien = BunVac

"Just a little added lunar power to enhance the mind-waves..."
-Wallace, from Wallace and Grommit: The Curse of the Wererabbit

From the NY Times:
The sleeping pill Ambien seems to unlock a primitive desire to eat in some patients, according to emerging medical case studies that describe how the drug's users sometimes sleepwalk into their kitchens, claw through their refrigerators like animals and consume calories ranging into the thousands.

The next morning, the night eaters remember nothing about their foraging. But they wake up to find telltale clues: mouthfuls of peanut butter, Tostitos in their beds, kitchen counters overflowing with flour, missing food, and even lighted ovens and stoves. Some are so embarrassed, they delay telling anyone, even as they gain weight.

Puffed Rice

Don't lie, you have, just like me, always wondered how in the world Rice Crispies are made. Well, I'll tell you.
Puffed rice
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Puffed rice is usually made by heating rice kernels under high pressure in the presence of steam. Puffed rice is used in various breakfast cereals, and is also a popular street food in various parts of the world. It is an ingredient of bhel puri, a popular Indian chaat item. Puffed rice is referred to as mur mure in some parts of India.

Monday, March 13, 2006

"You Will Be Like God"

Our rector gave a fantastic sermon on Sunday. The gospel for the day was the scene where Christ says "Get behind me, Satan!" to Peter when he tries to stop Jesus from speaking of his coming death. The gist of her sermon was vulnerability, and that Jesus called Peter "Satan" because the ancient words of the tempter were on his lips: "You will be like God." Peter wanted his Jesus invulnerable.

The words of the tempter have beguiled my entire nation. Right now we're stomping about the planet, "fighting them there so we don't have to fight them here." We're not so much trying to secure our liberties as our sense of invulnerability.

The lie we've been warmly wrapped in since the Soviet Union fell, that America had overcome its Great Enemy and was now untouchable, exalted, inviolable, has been cruelly, brutally, humiliatingly shattered. The "end of history," the Pax Americana, died with three thousand people in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania.

The stinging pain, the cruel loss and burning humiliation of that September morning showed us that a poor, weak nation, a nation without even a navy or a nuclear-weapon-tipped missle to its name, could hurt us. That revelation frightened us, and it angered us. We, it turned out, were not like God. Yet.

So here we are, three years in to a war justified not by facts, but by this burning, fearful, hateful fire in our bellies to bring back the lie of our invulnerability, flinging ourselves around the other side of the planet to crush the source of our fear, of our hurt, of our shame.

Fellow liberals, stop lying to everyone. George Bush didn't lead us into war with Iraq. The American people did that, the sixty-something percent of the nation that thought it was justified at the time. We the Hurt, the Shamed, the Fearful.

We listened to a voice our mothers and fathers have heard since the foundation of the world, a voice that Christ heard on Peter's lips and that Eve heard from the mouth of a Serpent in the hours before the Fall: "You will be like God."

And here we are, three years later, still trying, and still failing, to be like God. Here we are, in the Garden of Eden in 2006, trying to erase our humanity.

But unlike Adam and Eve, our eyes have not yet been opened.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Spin Doesn't Feed People

I am so tired of hearing about how great the economy is doing from this Administration.

To illustrate why, this is from the 18to35 blog:

Where's all the wealth?...according to the Federal Reserve, not in Americans' pockets. Real wages fell 6.5% between 2001 and 2004, overall income including investments rose less than 2% and, most notably, net worth fell for the bottom 40% of Americans.

Mortgage debt, credit card debt and wages that don't keep up with inflation are the main culprits. Not even the 28% rise in the worth of homes could balance most Americans' check books.

Read the full report for the reality that too many younger Americans experience.
Let's not talk about "how good business is." Let's forget for a moment about Wall Street. Can we please, please start using better indicators for how well everyone is doing, like the hunger rate? How would that be? Good with you? Because it's going up.

The poor are getting poorer. Read that again. The poor are getting poorer.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Omelettes Are Not Possible

The new job is going well. I get to help an older organization transition to an online strategy, which is right up my alley.

I've had some interesting challenges. I've gone from a very disorganized, micromanaged (yes, those two things happened at once) environment to a much more collaborative and trusting situation.

But I've had the urge to use old patterns of behavior. I find my first instinct is to play the power game. I don't handle it well when I'm not in charge, and I don't like it when others have good ideas; I want to be the only smart one, and I want to be in control.

Like I've said in previous posts, there's a strong urge in politics to make excuses for bad behavior in the context of the greater good. You think, if I just break a few eggs, I make a world where omelettes are possible. But all you're really doing is creating a world where people break eggs. The only world your making is one where people do those bad things.

L is helping me get through this. I don't want to be that person.